The Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an Executive Order proclaiming telecoms services as critical national security and economic infrastructure as prescribed the Cybersecurity Act 2015.
National chairman of ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo speaking with LEADERSHIP at the weekend said the telecom industry supports many other economic sectors of the economy. “We are also the first layer of critical infrastructure for socio economic development and security. It is pertinent to state that unless telecoms facilities have first level of protection by government, it will be difficult to provide uninterrupted services to the citizenry.’’
The body commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for being in the forefront of making sure that the ease of doing business is achieved by all stakeholders in the Industry.
“In view of the foregoing, ALTON respectfully seeks the intervention of the minister of finance to review the Amended Taxes and Levies Order 2015 which is adjudged to be inimical to the normal operations of telecommunication operations” he said.
Buttressing his point, Adebayo said there are 38 taxes and levies charged by the agencies of both federal and state governments on telecom operators. ALTON is concerned that the amended taxes & levies order, 2015 engendered the institution of multiplicity of taxes across different tiers of government,” he said.
Adebayo said the amended order failed to fix the taxable rate resulting in the imposition of arbitrary levies and charges at the state government levels.
“The industry is also burdened with enactment of laws at the state government levels to legitimate spurious levies and charges on our members which negates the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“Specifically, item 3 (b) of the amended schedule to the taxes and levies (approved list for collection) act introduced new levies and taxes under items 12 – 25. Most of these taxes and levies were hitherto contested by our members on the grounds that they were not applicable to telecommunications operations justified by the previous Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act 1998.
“It is disturbing that the entire instrument has given the state governments authorization to coerce and disrupt the operations of our members in order to compel the payment of sundry levies, charges and taxes. Rather than amended order addressing the issue of multiple taxation; it on the contrary increased the tax burden of our members and adversely impacted the ease of doing businesses in Nigeria,” said the ALTON chairman.